Slide and Glide is one of our swimming drills to learn swimming front crawl. You roll from side to side in a stable position, and observe a short pause on each side to adjust your balance. You also integrate the full arm stroke movements into the drill:

Note: This drill belongs to an older sequence of swimming drills to learn the freestyle stroke. Please consult the Learn How To Swim The Freestyle Stroke article to read about our current sequence of swimming drills.

Swimming Drill Instructions

The drill is in fact an extension of the advanced slide on your side drill:

  • Push off the wall.
  • Roll on your side so that your body is at an 90° angle with the water surface.
  • Your head is aligned with your trunk and facing upward.
  • Your bottom arm is extended forward, parallel to the water surface or slightly angled down.
  • Your top arm is resting on your top side.
  • Kick with a supple flutter kick.

Once you are stable and balanced in this position, do the following:

  • Roll your head downward so that you are looking toward the bottom of the pool.
  • Your body rolls slightly too, but you are still floating on your side.
  • Take a few moments to check your balance.

Once you have adjusted your balance, finish the drill cycle:

  • Start recovering your top arm forward. Sweep it forward close to your side.
  • When your hand has moved past your head, enter the water and then extend your arm forward under water.
  • At the same time, start to sweep backward in the water with your other arm.
  • Your body simultaneously rolls as a unit toward the other side.
  • Finish the drill cycle by having one arm extended forward and the other one resting on your side, like in the initial position, but having exchanged sides.
  • Your head should be in a similar initial position too, facing upward.
  • Take a few moments to catch your breath and adjust your balance, then start the drill cycle again toward the other side, and so on.

Swimming Drill Tips

  • Only start to sweep backward with one arm when the recovering arm is entering the water. This sets up the correct timing for front-quadrant swimming.
  • Once you can comfortably roll from side to side, start to alternate drill lengths and swim lengths. Try to keep the same feeling of relaxation and smoothness experienced during the drill length in the swim length.
  • Take a few moments to concentrate when switching from drill length to swim length or vice versa. Otherwise you might end up confused about what you should be doing at the beginning of a particular length.


Once you have mastered this drill you are ready to start swimming front crawl. So have fun with your new or improved swim stroke!

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